The A to Z Challenge asks bloggers to post 26 posts, one for each letter of the English alphabet, in April. Most of us choose to make these posts on a particular theme. My theme for 2023 is 1943 Washington D.C., the setting of the novel that I’m writing. Visit daily in April for a new post on my topic.
X is for Xylophone
There were three mentions of ‘xylophone’ in the Washington Post in the year 1943.
The first was on January 1st. The regular column that listed entertainment events, “What’s Going On and Where,” detailed a New Year’s Day concert by the U.S. Marine Band at the Marine Barracks. Among the more usual marches and light concert pieces, you could expect to hear a xylophone performance of “Chop Sticks.” I’m guessing that was a moment of comic relief. Perhaps, it sounded something like this, which definitely brought a smile to my face.
The second mention of a xylophone in 1943 will bring a smile to those of us writing A to Z posts this month. ‘Xylophone’ was the single X entry in a list of scarce goods, from A to Z, compiled by the War Production Board released on January 2. The list in the Washington Post was an abridged version — the WPB’s list had hundreds of items, but the Washington Post only listed one to a handful for each letter. My fellow participants of the A to Z Challenge will be most interested in the hard letters — Q for quinine, x for xylophones, y for yachts and yarns, z for zippers and zoot suits.
The final mention of a xylophone in the Washington Post in 1943 was the June 29 review of the premier of “Broken Hearts of Broadway” show at the Willard Roof. The reviewer enjoyed the melodrama:
…things pass from bad to worse for the heroine with great dispatch; the villain gets more dastardly scene by scene; action never drags as it is lamentably apt to do in pieces of this nature, and by 10:30 it is all over but the after-show, and the red-and-gilt front drop crashes down on the triumph of justice.
At one point in the production, our naive heroine played a xylophone novelty piece.
What's going on and where. (1943, Jan 01). The Washington Post (1923-1954) Retrieved from https://www.proquest.com/historical-newspapers/whats-going-ob-where/docview/151615370/se-2 Washington Bureau of, C. S. (1943, Jan 03). Goods scarce from war rules listed by WPB from A to Z. The Washington Post (1923-1954) Retrieved from https://www.proquest.com/historical-newspapers/goods-scarce-front-war-rules-listed-wpb-z/docview/151613415/se-2 New thrills with your beer! (1943, Jun 29). The Washington Post (1923-1954) Retrieved from https://www.proquest.com/historical-newspapers/new-thrills-with-your-beer/docview/151650148/se-2